The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 17

Tempus Fugit (1)

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Mar 16, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
275 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While celebrating Scully's 33rd birthday, a strange woman informs Mulder that NICAP member Max Fenig (see Fallen Angel) has recently died in a plane crash. After a visit to the crash site and finding Max's body with radiation burns on it, Mulder suggests that the plane was intercepted by a UFO and is rapidly being covered up by the military.moreless

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  • Tempus Fugit

    Tempus Fugit was a pretty great episode of The X-Files and I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character and plot development along with U.F.O. action, some drama and lots of intrigue. It was great to see Mulder and Scully investigate the plane crash and learn the fate of Max. I loved watching the scenes where a U.F.O. abducted Max and later his sister. There was a lot going on and many different characters functioning in different roles. I liked how every thing played out and look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Mulder and Scully look into a mysterious plane crash

    It's about that time again when The X-Files interrupts the string of "Monster of the Week" episodes in order to give us a two part episode somewhat related to aliens, UFO's and government conspiracies. However, while I normally would've been really excited for episodes like this in the past, I've found myself growing less and less excited. They're still good, don't get me wrong, but it feels like it's falling into a too-familiar pattern. They give us an intriguing plot to start off, move forward at a rapid-fire pace and then leave us hanging with nothing to take from the episode. Mulder ends up being as close as he was to the truth as before, which is not close at all.

    This episode started off slow, seemed to be going nowhere and quickly turned into one of the more intriguing offerings the show has given this season. The final scene where Mulder is swimming underwater and sees the alien is chilling and is perhaps the closest he's been to the truth.

    The basic idea of the episode is that Max Fenig or something like that from the first season reappears with some type of documents that he wants to give to his sister. His place crashes though, and it's being covered up. Mulder and Scully take it upon themselves to try and figure out what really happened with the crashed plane and what it was Max wanted to give to his sister. I really hope that the show gets back to the Max plot.. the episode sort of veered from the point for awhile, but there's still hope.

    The final moment leaves me curious and intrigued, exactly what most X-Files episodes do. Now for ONCE, can Mulder somewhat find the truth? I'm worried the show is going to get into too comfortable of a pattern of witholding information.moreless
  • X-Files as it should be

    Don't expect this mytharc two-parter to have anything substantial to do with the ongoing story arc and you'll love it!

    I made the aforementioned mistake before and came out of "Tempus Fugit" disappointed: No syndicate, no Black Oil, none of the usual suspects, no furthering of the dangling plot threads. But now I see that as a good thing. Not every X Files two-parter belongs to that category and thank heavens for that.

    Instead, "Tempus" is a very classic X Files story right out of the first season: Alien abductions, government cover-ups, secret technologies, close encounters. All the best ingredients, some of which have been sadly absent from the fourth season up to this point. Even visually, the episode is reminiscent of Season 1's "Deep Throat" and "Fallen Angel", classic UFO stories from early on. Like them, "Tempus" is vastly exciting, full of surprises and thrills, and above all it features some of the signature Mulder/Scully humor that recently, the Scully-has-cancer arc appeared to overshadow.

    Also a great cliffhanger...moreless
  • Fly The Friendly Skies

    Visually, a gorgeous effort, but not a whole lot happens in this "light" version of a Mythology two-parter.

    The overview of the crash site was stunning. Very well done, especially on a television budget. The alien encounter with Mike Millar was also well done and effective. The lighting throughout this episode is top notch. And we even have an underwater scene, which is amazing given the amount of work spent on the rest of the sets. All in all, a very impressive episode from a technical and directorial point of view.

    I was a bit disappointed by the relative lack of story in this episode. There are no revelations offered and the episode does not advance the Myth arc in an appreciable way. I would have liked to have seen more of Max and I think it was a mistake to kill him off before he could explain what had happened to him. I suppose these answers will be supplied in the second part in other ways, possibly from his letters, but there would be more impact in hearing it from the horse's mouth, so to speak.moreless
  • No snakes on this Plane

    Tempus fugit is part one of a two part story and features Max Fenig, from season one’s “Fallen Angel". While celebrating Scully's 33rd birthday, a strange woman informs Mulder that NICAP member Max Fenig has recently died in a plane crash. After a visit to the crash site and finding Max's body with radiation burns on it, Mulder suggests that the plane was intercepted by a UFO and is rapidly being covered up by the military. This is a good episode that has the audience on the end of their seat as we uncover the mystery with Mulder and Skully. We also see Mulder come in contact with aliens at the end of the episode even though they are dead.8 out of 10.moreless
Joe Spano

Joe Spano

Mike Millar

Guest Star

Tom O'Brien

Tom O'Brien

Corporal Frish

Guest Star

Scott Bellis

Scott Bellis

Max Fenig

Guest Star

Brendan Beiser

Brendan Beiser

Agent Pendrell

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • On The Season Four DVD, If the English subtitles are activated, the theme to the X-Files beginning credits have "Happy Birthday Dear Dana" Playing throughout.

    • Max Fenig is an anagram, when the letters are changed, XF Enigma is the result.

    • Goof: Mike Millar said, Dr. Spock's phaser. Surely he meant Mr. Spock, not "Dr." Mr. Spock is from the show Star Trek who of course carries a phaser while Dr. Spock is an American pediatrician.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Scully: Are you accusing these men of covering evidence?
      Mulder: These men.. No. These men are trained to identify moving parts, hydraulics, electronics. Their trained to reconstruct those parts in the past and arrive at the present but they can't do that because somebody has stolen the past from them. 9 minutes of it. 9 minutes that became a lifetime for those passengers and now for their families. Someone has got to figure out what happened in those 9 minutes. Somehow we've got to get that back.

    • Mulder: You wanna know what I think Scully..I'm gonna tell you, I think Max was abducted, sucked right out of this door at 29,000 feet, the burns were seeing as a result of that abduction
      Scully: Mulder..
      Mulder: And all the evidence will point to this conclusion but it will be dismissed because of its improbability, its unthinkability
      Scully: Mulder..
      Mulder: And the crash of flight 549 will go unsolved unless we find a way to prove it and when Max is returned he will tell us exactly the same story unless someone gets to him first
      Scully: Mulder, Max has returned, I found out a few minutes ago. They found his body a short way from the wreckage earlier today

    • Mulder: Fenig.. And there may be people who want to cover up this evidence.
      Mike Millar: Agent Mulder, is this an official FBI position?
      Mulder: No sir.
      Mike Millar: Because what your suggesting trivialises this tragedy. And Casts these fine people and the work they have to do in a light that you would be well advised to avoid.
      Mulder: I think we all share the same goal here sir and that is to find out what caused that plane to crash
      Mike Millar: And any of the capable men and women in this room find Dr. Spock's phaser,or any green alien goo we will be sure to give you all the credit.

    • Mulder: I got you something for you
      Scully: Oh you've got to be kidding me
      Mulder: Its just something that reminded me of you
      Scully: What an alien implant?
      Mulder: Two actually I made them in to earrings

    • Mulder: I didn't know it was your birthday, Scully.
      Scully: Mulder, you've never remembered my birthday in the four years I've known you.
      Mulder: That's the way I like to celebrate. It's every four years, like dog years.
      Scully: Dog years? Thank you.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Episode Title: Tempus Fugit

      Tempus fugit is a Latin expression meaning "time flees", more commonly translated as "time flies". It is frequently used as an inscription on clocks. The expression was first used in the verse Georgica written by Roman poet Virgil: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, which means, "But it flees in the meantime: irretrievable time flees".

    • Title of Episode: ...
      Tempus Fugit is the name of a song by the 70's prog rock band YES off of their album, Drama.